14 Nov 2018

Defence Secretary announces start of Autonomous Warrior exercise

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that British troops have began testing out over 70 examples of futuristic technology including enhanced surveillance drones and unmanned vehicles on the fields of Salisbury Plain.

The game-changing Autonomous Warrior experiment will last four weeks and test a range of prototype unmanned aerial and autonomous ground vehicles, which aim to reduce the danger to troops during combat.

The exercise aims to test technologies in surveillance, long-range and precision targeting, enhanced mobility and the re-supply of forces, urban warfare and enhanced situational awareness.

A major focus will be to test is the autonomous last mile resupply. The ‘last mile’, which represents the extremely dangerous final approach to the combat zone, is crucial to ensuring soldiers have the food, fuel and ammunition to keep them alive.

It will conclude with a battlegroup experiment, where the best ideas and products will be tested in the toughest of simulated operational environments.

Autonomous Warrior will play an integral role within the £800 million Defence Innovation Fund which supports ground-breaking ideas aimed at transforming both defence and British industry.

Mr Williamson said: “Our troops now have the chance to test out a huge range of robotic kit in what will be the biggest exercise of its kind in our history. We’re always working with the brightest minds in Britain and across the world to see how they can support our military of the future, but now the frontrunners have the chance to prove what they can really do on a battlefield. This equipment could revolutionise our Armed Forces, keeping them safe and giving them the edge in an increasingly unstable world.”

image © Crown Copyright

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